Portishead’s Geoff Barrow criticises The Weeknd for uncleared sample

By | Published on Wednesday 17 July 2013

The Weeknd

Portishead’s Geoff Barrow has criticised The Weeknd, aka Abel Tesfaye, for releasing a new track featuring his band’s 2008 track ‘Machine Gun’ even after permission was refused.

Responding to a Pitchfork tweet about the track, entitled (mildly ironically) ‘Belong To The World’, Barrow said: “I think it’s a load of bollocks … When someone asks to sample you, and you refuse, they should have the respect as a fellow artist to not use it”.

He added: “We usually give sample clearance to tunes we like. It’s got fuck all to do with money, as most of them are hip hop artists that are skint!”

The Weeknd’s track is taken from his forthcoming new album ‘Kiss Land’, his first new release proper since signing to Universal/Republic last year. This is the second time Universal has been caught up in such controversy in recent months, after was caught using a track he’d previously been told he couldn’t.

The world’s largest record company wants to watch out, or some people might start suggesting it’s knowingly using its size and legal weight to infringe the copyright of smaller companies and artists.

Though this morning Barrow returned to Twitter to say: “Seems [The Weeknd’s people] have said there is no sample used or enough likeness to ‘Machine Gun’ to warrant any infringement… or credit”.

Right. Well, here’s ‘Machine Gun’ by Portishead:

And here’s ‘Belong To The World’ by The Weeknd(/Portishead):